The Joys of Motherhood – Buchi Emecheta
The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta is a seminal work in African literature that explores the themes of motherhood, its import in a culture that invariably equates a woman’s worth by her ability to bear male children, and what happens when such expectations are confounded by women who not only subscribe to such views but also internalise it and even endorse it.
Set in Nigeria, the plot concerns the life of Nnu-Ego, how she is conceived into existence and how she, in turn, carries forward the gift of life by birthing many children and proving herself to be a true woman according to the Nigerian ethos. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg as Nnu-Ego’s story is every bit as full of pathos as her arrival into the world — her mother, Ona is the mistress of Ibuza’s most powerful man, Nwokocha Agbadi.
Nnu Ego may have royal parentage to boast of but life shows no mercy to her as she is married to a handsome, tough man, only to be rendered a second wife when she’s declared barren by her new husband.